Diversification for a Food-secure Future

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. Nyree Zerega, a TTFF board member, recently published an article about diversifying food using underutilized crops, particularly noting the importance of alleviating our reliance on wheat, corn and rice to achieve global food security.

Although the world has cultivated over 10,000 plant species for food,we rely on about 90 plant crops (fewer than 1 percent of potential crops) for 90 percent of our diet. And for nearly 60 percent of food needs, the world relies on wheat, rice and corn. This reliance distances us from reaching global food security. Why? Being reliant on so few crops “increases our vulnerability to crop failures due to disease, drought or other predictable stresses that can lead to famine. Additionally, many major crops require tremendous energy input…With more than 1 billion people suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition and considered food insecure, alternatives are needed.”

One of these alternatives includes breadfruit! “Breadfruit yield and nutrition statistics rival those of wheat and corn, and the trees are traditionally grown in multicrop agroforestry systems, which help prevent soil erosion and provide a complex habitat that can support a wider variety of wildlife and sequester more carbon than modern agricultural systems. Perhaps most compelling is thatbreadfruit can grow in parts of the world where food and economic insecurity are the highest, including Haiti, Liberia and Ghana.”

Check out the rest of the article here.

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